Thursday, September 9, 2010

Imam Rauf is unbowed by criticism of Ground Zero mosque ~ naturally


Cordoba was once a center of Islamic rule in southern Spain. It was there that 1000 years ago, Muslims razed an already existing church and requisitioned columns and materials from other razed churches to build a mosque that became one of the architectural prizes of Europe.

Spookily to build the original Cordoba they used stones from the pre-existing church ~ a cathedral to build their mosque. The 9/11 mosque so named the Cordoba House was hit by the shrapnel from the falling towers. Under Muslim ruled Spain Christians and others did not live alongside each other peaceably. Muslims ruled or Syrian Muslims ruled and all non-Muslims were required to pay the Islamic jizya tax and live as second class citizens. The North African converts also had less rights than the Syrian or so-called Arabs.

This might be a good time for Imam Rauf to reach out the survivors of 9/11 and the families of victims to both repudiate the actions of Islamic jihadis who killed thousands of people in 2001 while also explaining how he can now hope that the planned Islamic community center may still be able to promote peace, respect and understanding between Islam and the rest of the world.

Muslims always say that the aim of building their mosques is to reach out to the community and bridge the gap between Islam and other faiths. It is almost line by line the same statement. They get the Saudi/Arab money build the mosque and that's it. The stumbling block is that it requires submission.

Islam is a religion of conquest ~ the erection of a mosque particularly on a site of Islamic holy war is a representation of lands taken.



The Muslim leader at the center of the controversy over a planned mosque and Islamic community planned for New York City, Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf, said in a September 8 op-ed in the New York Times that he plans to move forward. Echoing sentiments expressed earlier this year in an article in the New York Daily News, Rauf said however that he is "awed by how inflamed and emotional" the issue has become.

Opponents to the planned Islamic center, called 'Cordoba House' include vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and numerous civic organizations who are concerned that it would be too close to the site where jihadi terrorists brought down the Twin Towers in 2001. Rauf said he would proceed with the vocal support of President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg while noting that Obama is Christian and Bloomberg is Jewish. "Their statements sent a powerful message about what America stands for," wrote Rauf.

The imam has been criticized for not speaking out since the mosque has become a national issue.

In his latest editorial, Rauf said that the project reflects American values such as freedom of religion. This followed several weeks of silence while the Muslim cleric traveled to Islamic countries on a tour paid for the by the U.S. State Department to promote religious tolerance. Rauf claimed that it would "not be right to comment from abroad" and that he wanted to confer with leaders of other faiths involved in the project. He did say during the trip that he believes the protests against the center are being fueled by politics.

Opponents of the project have have said the mosque should be built further away from where Islamic extremists destroyed the World Trade Center and killed nearly 2,800 people. New York governor David Paterson has offered state-owned land to the project in exchange for a move away from Ground Zero.

Rauf said the $100 million community center would have a memorial to the victims of 9/11 and will include separate prayer spaces for "Muslims, Christians, Jews and men and women of other faiths." He added that all financing would be made public. By backing away from the project, Rauf insisted, it would be radicals bent on harming the U.S. who would benefit. "The wonderful outpouring of support for our right to build this community center from across the social, religious and political spectrum seriously undermines the ability of anti-American radicals to recruit young, impressionable Muslims by falsely claiming that America persecutes Muslims for their faith," he wrote. "These efforts by radicals at distortion endanger our national security and the personal security of Americans worldwide."

Elsewhere in the world, Muslims have encountered opposition to similar efforts. Mansur Escudero, a Muslim political leader in Spain, has asked a Catholic church in Cordoba be opened up for formal Muslim prayer. Cordoba was once a center of Islamic rule in southern Spain. It was there that 1000 years ago, Muslims razed an already existing church and requisitioned columns and materials from other razed churches to build a mosque that became one of the architectural prizes of Europe. When the Christion Spanish returned to Cordoba, they did not raze the mosque but instead built within it a smaller structure and dedicated it to Catholic worship.

In Paris, the streets in several neighbourhoods in the French capital are shut down for Friday prayers as hundreds of Muslim men drop to their knees in prayer while blocking traffic. French critics have said that similar public displays of religious fervor are forbidden to people of other faiths.

Some religious leaders have spoken about the issue, among them Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan. Said Archbishop Dolan, "What we do not need are protests, but promoters of dialogue," concerning exchanges of vitriol at dueling rallies near Ground Zero. While he had once signaled guarded support for the Islamic center, the prelate said that he now does not have "strong feelings" about the matter. A prominent rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, denounced those who have accused the mosque's opponents of hatred and bigotry. Wrote Rabbi Boteach, "For the record, I am a supporter of the mosque being built, but only under two conditions. First, that its builders consult the families of the Ground Zero dead, who are the people whose opinion matters most. Second, that the 13-story complex include a museum detailing the events of 9/11 with exhibits explaining the modern abuse of Islamic teachings by extremists and their repudiation by Islam itself."

This might be a good time for Imam Rauf to reach out the survivors of 9/11 and the families of victims to both repudiate the actions of Islamic jihadis who killed thousands of people in 2001 while also explaining how he can now hope that the planned Islamic community center may still be able to promote peace, respect and understanding between Islam and the rest of the world.

Spero

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